Canadians excel at BMO Vancouver Marathon, which attracts runners from 65 countries

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      Canadian men took the top five spots in this year's men's BMO Vancouver Marathon, with local runner Robin Watson crossing the finish line first in a time of 2:27:38.

      In the past, he's run 10 sub 2:20 marathons and his personal best is 2:13.

      Watson also won the half-marathon race at the 2015 BMO Vancouver Marathon.

      “It’s nice to have that double,” Watson said in a Vancouver International Marathon Society news release. “It was a really nice 30KM and a really hard 12KM today, but I’m happy I pulled it off. It’s a great event, and I’m happy to be able to take the win.”

      Mike Trites, Robert Brouillette, Ed McCarthy, and Craig McMillan rounded out the top five in the men's marthaon.

      The series of races in the BMO Vancouver Marathon attracted runners from 65 countries.

      Chinese long-distance runner Zhiling Zheng won the women's marathon in a time of 2:43:50. Rounding out the top three were Mexican Margarita Quintero and Canadian Catrin Jones.

      Canadian Natasha Wodak won her fourth BMO Vancouver Marathon half marathon, crossing the finish line at 1:14:01. The Olympian was followed by Jane Murage at 1:16:39.

      The men's half marathon winner was Kenyan George Towett in a time of 1:04:03. In second place was fellow Kenyan Daniel Kipkoech, who won the men's BMO Vancouver Marathon in 2016 and 2017. 

      Nearly 4,000 people volunteer with the Vancouver International Marathon Society to make this race an international success.

      Last year, Georgia Straight readers voted the BMO Vancouver Marathon as the city's best running race in the annual Best of Vancouver issue.

      It's also been praised as one of world's most scenic marathons by a range of U.S. media outlets, including Forbes, CNN, and USA Today.

      It's grown from 46 runners and 32 finishers when it began in 1972 to more than 17,000 runners this year.

      In 2018 there was even a marriage proposal at the finish line when local runner Connor Hasegawa presented a ring to his girlfriend, Chantelle Adamson.

      The BMO Vancouver Marathon is an Association of International Marathons and Distance Races-certified qualifier for the Boston Marathon.